If you missed 5 Tips for Relieving Stress (Part One), be sure to read it.
The 5 tips in Part One were: 1. Exercise. 2. Be Organized. 3. Just say “NO.” 4. Keep Your Perspective. 5. Be Selfish. The tips in Part Two) are:
1. Laugh a lot
I wrote in my most recent book, The Joy of Being Disorganized:
“Laughter is like a spiritual milkshake. Laughter is free. You’ll never get a statement in the mail for the laughter you’ve used up! I laugh at something at least every hour! If there was such a thing as being charged by some government bureau like the Federal Bureau of Laugh Management for all the laughing I do every month, I’d be afraid to open the statement and see what I owed! I actually keep an eye out for things that make me laugh. I have many friends who are guaranteed to crack me up when I make a connection with them. My husband makes me laugh, all five of my kids are very funny and make me laugh, and really, I’m not embarrassed to admit that I often crack myself up!”
My mother told me I was a sulky child. I don’t remember that phase because she literally timed it out of me. I’d be in one of my “moods,” and I remember her saying, “Pam, if you’re going to pout, you need to go do it in your room, and you’ve got ten minutes to get over it and be happy again.” I remember going to my room and feeling so, so sorry for myself. I’d whine and tell myself how sad and unfair something was, and then I’d hear that timer ding, and my mother would be at the door with a hug and a kiss and a starting-over plan of action. It was wonderful how good it felt to start over and wipe the slate clean! If you haven’t laughed really hard by the end of a given day, you could use your timer to challenge yourself to laugh in the next ten minutes.
Everything in your home (including you) should make you feel good. If you need some inspiration, consider putting items in your home that are certain to make you giggle!” Someday, I’ll tell you the story behind this deer that hangs on the wall in our home.
2. Enlist Help
Moms are often expected to do everything related to home care and child care, and that often leads them to think: ‘what about me?’ Make your job easier by getting help. That’s why I developed the House Fairy. In the Mama’s Little Helper Program, the House Fairy tells kids they can do chores, keep their rooms neat and tidy and help with laundry and cooking meals. Don’t overlook the option of delegating jobs to kids, and this is where the House Fairy can really help you.
Another good idea is to trade babysitting with other moms. There are often ways to hire affordable help for extra things like cleaning or cooking, to make your lifestyle less hectic.
3. Don’t Forget to Breathe
Because mothers and young children are so attuned to each other, reducing stress in one helps both mother and child. Deep breathing of fresh air is a quick stress reliever.
Years ago, I went to a bio-feedback counselor and learned how to deep breathe. Because I was hooked up to a computer, I got to see what deep breathing does to stress. It literally melts it. The counselor explained, by drawing a staircase, that stress can build up like going upstairs. She explained that in especially stressful times, (like when we’re young mothers) it would be healthy to relieve that stress on the hour and start back on the bottom step for the next hour. I learned that ten deep breaths (that takes about five minutes) would take me back down to the bottom step.
I have what I call my Yoda Hour. I remove myself from all electronics for an hour every day. In that hour I pray and meditate. In prayer I simply let whatever thoughts want to surface and in meditation; I focus on my mantra and quiet my mind. Invariably questions that come up, get answered in the same hour and it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn about myself, to solve most of my pressing problems.
4. Get a Hobby
I divorced when my children were 12, nine and four years old. Their father moved out of state and my stress level rocketed. I started an exercise regime because I knew exercise is probably the number one stress reliever, but when I began writing my first book, Sidetracked Home Executives: from pigpen to paradise, I discovered that (for me) writing was a great stress reliever. I’d always enjoyed writing, but until it was something I did every day, I didn’t realize what a benefit it was to my stress level.
Make it a priority to do something every day that you love to do. If you’ve gotten so busy, you’re not sure what it is, think back to what you loved to do when you were younger. If it’s dance, dance. If it’s paint, paint. Just get started and watch the stress melt while you’re having fun.
5. Have Sex
I don’t think I have to explain to you how sex relieves stress, and for the benefit of my children who just might read this, I’m going to leave this tip just as it is, except to say; if you’re a single mom, you know what to do, and I don’t mean be promiscuous.
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you’ll share it with your uptight friends and family. Stress is so unhealthy and the more we can do to relieve it the better.